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EP Review: J Plates - Brain Drain [In-Reach Records]

NZ-born, UK-based producer J Plates surfaces for another killer EP following a brace of releases last November on Omni Music UK. This time around he lands on London label In-Reach Records with 5 cuts of old school Drum n Bass that will please fans of intelligent, rugged beats.

The opening of title track Brain Drain sets the tone: a distorted Moving Shadow-style snare and plodding 808 kick is joined by moody strings before a nasty, hoovering bassline drops in to create the kind of dark stepper ravers were going bonkers for in dimly-lit warehouses in the late 90’s.

Second track The Search is a rolling, liquidy tune that rounds things off with an uplifting vibe thanks to lush keys and a stripped back aesthetic, while Witness is a loping roller with intricate hi-hat work, pensive synth stabs and cheeky FX that recalls early Total Science.

The dread continues on Proximity which features a more shuffling beat but still uses crisply sampled drums and sparse minor-key pads and FX to brutal effect, with a stabbing, minimal bass conjuring the spirit of Dread Recordings and other 90’s jungle/tech crossovers.

Bonus track Emotions shows off the range of subgenres J Plates is capable of, a shimmering melody drenching a sub-170bpm amen to create dreamy liquid jungle.

With most tracks clocking in at over 6 minutes, and a less-is-more approach to song construction, this is a throwback EP in the best possible way, utilising cutting edge production to conjure the vibe of an earlier era of Drum n Bass when it was less about full-on sonic assault and more about crafting moods and soundscapes to get lost in. Make sure to add this to your library or DJ arsenal, and watch for more from this talented artist coming soon!

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